• victoriajvalliere

Here I Really Am

Updated: Dec 11, 2019

The story of this last year. How you end up exactly where you belong, but never where you expected.

photo credit: Scott Cadenhead

This post was first written in May of 2018. Stay tuned for part two, updated for December.

One year ago almost to the week I was sitting in a cabin in the wilds of the Canadian forests, looking out over the French River at my all-time favourite writing retreat, dreaming about what the next year of my life would bring. And while I was there, I sat down and created a blog. I wrote out the category titles, I made the menus and fiddled with the format and designs. And then I left the retreat and went back to normal life and left the blog behind too.

Today I came back, drawn by scam issues, and I realized something amazing. Last year I wrote out one of the cateogry titles for the blog as "Adventures of a Young Aspiring Creative in Edinburgh". I know, super cheesy and pretentious, but then, so am I some of the time. That wasn't what struck me today. Today, I looked at that title and thought to myself, "Huh, I should change that, make it more accurate." Because, you see, I'm not living in Edinburgh, I'm living in Glasgow now. I am an aspiring creative though, that hasn't changed. And yet, it has. Everything has. You see, last spring when I created this blog I didn't believe a word of it. I had been told by my mentors and family and friends and everyone in between that once I graduated university, which I had just done, I needed to take some time, to go and travel and have a gap year and figure out where I wanted to go next.

It was good advice. I was burnt out, lost, and direction-less - mostly because I was so incredibly disconnected from myself - and I needed to follow it. Which I did. But when I wrote about being a young creative living in Edinburgh, it was a pipe dream. Literally. I never thought I'd be I had an image in my mind of living in Scotland, the country of dreams and romance and amazing accents, and creating something: theatre, writing, poetry, whatever art came my way. I had this dream of having an amazing apartment filled with laughter and friends visiting all the time (think F.R.I.E.N.D.S.), of walking along streets that have been there longer than my country (Canada) has been a nation. I had this image of an apartment that felt like home, of walking through parks to get to the grocery store. Of having a life. It was something I thought would never ever happen. I had spent the last four years of my life isolated and lonely, surrounded by people but never seen, busying myself until I moved as if I was a blur, trying to outrun my confusion, outrun my loneliness, outrun my self-hatred, outrun my fear. I thought the picture in my head was a fantasy, and when I wrote that category title last year, it was only that. A fantasy. A pipe dream.

Just like happiness is closer than you thought when you look in the rear-view mirror, so too is it right around the corner.

Except now I'm here. I'm living in Glasgow (not Edinburgh, but turns out this is where I belong). I'm studying acting and making art every single day. I live in the cutest apartment I've ever seen, with an amazing flatmate. I walk through multiple parks every day since I'm in the city with the most parks per capita in the world. I grocery shop and cook in my own kitchen. I have candles in every room of my apartment. And Friday night, do you know what happened Friday night? On Friday night I got home only to hear from one of my friends (yes, I said friend) who said "We're coming over to you're house!" By 8:00 I had three friends over, red wine, chocolate, and cake on the table, candles burning low as we started a conversation that went until the wee hours of the morning. They invited themselves over. They walked right in. They made themselves at home. And suddenly, it may not have been in a square screen, it may not have been in front of a live audience, and we may not have been as sparkly or stylish as them, but I was living F.R.I.E.N.D.S.: the real life version. It's not a dream come true, because I never had the audacity to believe in this fairy tale. But it came true nonetheless.

So what does this have to do with acting? Nothing...and everything. Because this dream was as impossible and distant to me as being a professional artist is to all of us. And all I had was a detailed picture in my head - a picture I didn't even believe in, but a picture I saw nonetheless. And that meant I recognized it when it began to come true.

What's your picture? Paint it carefully, be brave, and watch it come true.

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